Former President George W. Bush on Saturday warned of homegrown violent extremism while speaking at the Flight 93 memorial on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
“We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within,” said Bush, who joined Vice President Kamala Harris and others at the ceremony.
“There’s little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. And it is our continuing duty to confront them.”
Following the Capitol riot, Bush released a statement denouncing “the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement.”
“The violent assault on the Capitol — and disruption of a constitutionally mandated meeting of Congress — was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could do grave damage to our nation and reputation,” the 43rd president added.
The former President’s remarks come a week before a Sept. 18 rally planned in support of individuals arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. The rally — spearheaded by former Donald Trump presidential campaign official Matt Braynard — is known as “Justice for J6.”
Bush also highlighted the unity that was on display in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks in his speech on Saturday.
“In the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks, I was proud to lead an amazing, resilient, united people. When it comes to the unity of America, those days seem distant from our own,” Bush said.
President Biden speaking at a fire station in Shanksville praised Bush’s speech and echoed his message of the importance of restoring national unity.
“Are we going to, in the next four, five, six, 10 years, demonstrate that democracies can work, or not?” Biden said.
Trump, who opted not to participate in official events and instead spoke to first responders at the 17th Precinct station house in East Midtown, later took to the microphone to commentate on the the Evander Holyfield V Vitor Belfort bout at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Florida – but his announcing duties were cut short when it ended in a TKO.
Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., provided commentary during the highly anticipated dust-up which ended with Belfort delivering a brutal upper cut to Holyfield, knocking him out in the first round.
Sipping on a Diet Coke, Trump stated: ‘It’s like elections, it could be rigged!’
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited all three sites Saturday where terrorists killed Americans on September 11, 2001, marking the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
The Bidens woke up in New York and joined the Clintons and the Obamas at a ceremony at Ground Zero, before traveling to Shanksville, Pennsylvania and then the Pentagon for wreath-laying services.
‘These memorials are really important. But they’re also incredibly difficult for the people affected by them, because it brings back the moment they got the phone call, it brings back the instant they got the news, no matter how years go by,’ Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania.
Saturday’s ceremony in New York included a playing of the National Anthem and bells chiming for when each of the four planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and finally a field in Somerset, County, Pennsylvania – sparing either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.
Family members read the names of the deceased, giving tributes to husbands, wives, uncles, sisters, brothers and children who were among the 2,977 killed.
Bruce Springsteen played ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams,’ after a bell chimed at 9:03 a.m., marking when Flight 175 hit the second World Trade Center tower.
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke at the Pentagon.